New York – Geirus Re-Examined: The Other Elephant in the Room that No One is Talking About


    New York – The system needs a complete overhaul.

    Picture a young woman who is struggling to put the funds together to get to seminary. Amazingly, she succeeds. Her excitement is palpable. She works, she borrows, and somehow, someway – she purchases a ticket.

    But alas, upon her arrival, she is not accepted to the seminary. Since her mother was a giores many years ago, the gairus needed to be rechecked. This was all based upon the new criterion established and or promulgated by the EJF.

    Mind you, the gairus was a good gairus. Indeed, it was checked and relied upon by Rabbonim with unimpeachable credentials. The mother’s level of observance is unassailable as well.

    No matter. The girl must undergo another tevilah. Since almost every seminary and yeshiva in Israel checks with the EJF about whether a Gairus must be redone or not, she does not have much choice. It is off to the Mikvah with her – with three Rabbonim in tow.

    A quick glance at the EJF website is revealing. Only 19 Batei Din are on the approved list – in the entire United States. Nineteen in the whole country. Every other Bais Din? The plug has been pulled on them.

    And so, apparently, the girl has no choice.

    Or does she? What about the Mitzvah of Kivud Av V’Aim? If she capitulates to the demands of the EJF – what does this have her saying about her mother?
    “Sorry, mom – I don’t believe you are really Jewish – so I am dipping again just to be sure..” Is this true Kivud Av V’aim? Is this not a complete and utter abnegation of the Mitzvah of “VeGair lo sonu”?

    And guess what? This remarkable young lady, who does not possess an ounce of Chutzpah within her, chooses not to budge. She did not dip again.

    Instead, she waited for a phone call. Perhaps they may change their minds. Perhaps some more evidence would emerge from America.
    It was a phone call that never came.

    The young lady took a job helping a harried mother with her young children while she waited.. And waited. And waited.

    The end of the story was that she never got into the seminary. But she remained pure of the horrific stain of hurting the two people in her life that she loves most – her parents. Her observance of Kivud Av v’Aim remained intact. And perhaps that devotion, that “Dama Ben Nesina” type of experience – may have been a greater spiritual elevation than any seminary in the world could have provided.

    Unfortunately, this is not the only story.

    The next one goes like this:

    Picture a couple that cannot get married. They cannot marry because the gairus that one of them underwent years earlier was not acceptable to the EJF for some reason. Yet, all members of that Bais Din were frum Rabbonim. They were Talmidei Chachomim with rock-solid reputations.

    There is no question that those who made that call were in complete violation of the issurei deoraisos involved in “veGair lo sonu.”

    Of course, one may protest that everything that was done by EJF was done with the approval of Gedolei Yisroel. In light of recent events, however, the credibility of this claim must certainly be called into question.

    There is a fascinating and most remarkable Yam Shel Shlomo (Bava Kamma Perek 7 Siman 37). The author writes that, according to his opinion, an actual blessing should be recited at a Siyum – a completion of a Talmudic tractate. Yes, the Maharshal – Rabbi Shlomo Luriah was of the opinion that the blessing of “SheHaSimcha B’mono” should be recited at a siyum – because “there is no greater simcha or rina before Hashem than a simcha of Torah.” And he writes further, “And so I ruled.”

    But then at one such party – sheer pandemonium struck. The holy Maharshal writes, “And I pinned this terrible event on myself – for I have violated the words of the sages, who had never heard such a thing [about this new practice of reciting the blessing]..”

    The point is clear. The retroactive undoing of Gairus – performed by kosher, erlicha Rabbis and Talmidei Chachomim, is unheard of. Never in history was this done.

    Is it no wonder that sheer pandemonium would develop in regard to this organization? Is it no wonder that a chilul Hashem of such magnitude would develop here?

    There are two steps that need to be taken. The first is that a Rabbinic organization in the right wing Torah world should denounce the avlah that has occurred. Why is it that the RCA is the sole organization thus far to stand up for Torah? Many Poskim have ruled that the new ideas that have come out of this organization are against Shulchan Aruch. Yes, against Shulchan Aruch.

    In light of the horrendous events that have occurred and the track record involved here, one cannot assume that anything presented in the name of Gedolim is necessarily true. Anything that seems to go against Shulchan Aruch and the responsa literature must be re-evaluated.

    The second thing that must be done is our Gedolei HaPoskim and Rabbonim have to step up and devise some alternative to the system of evaluation set up by an organization led by a suspect individual. Neshamos are crying out to us. Rabbonim and Talmidei Chachomim of unimpeachable credentials have been destroyed and devastated by this organization.

    The words of Rabbi Shlomo Luria are screaming out at us! The question is – will we listen?

    The author can be reached at [email protected]

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